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GuidesUser experience (UX)Customer journey management: A quick guide

Customer journey management: A quick guide

Last updated

14 July 2023

Author

Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Jean Kaluza

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Customer journey management involves understanding and managing every customer interaction with your brand. 

Effectively managing the customer's journey means your customers have the best possible experience from the first to the last touchpoint. 

We’re covering the key stages of a customer journey and best practices to enhance your customer's experience.

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey is a customer's complete experience with a business, from initial contact to post-purchase support. It includes all touchpoints with a business, including online interactions, in-person experiences, and customer service interactions.

You can break a customer journey into various stages, such as understanding, designing, and orchestrating. Touchpoints vary with each stage, and the customer has different needs and expectations.

For example, imagine your company sells phones. The customer journey might start with a Google search for the latest smartphones, then visiting a few brand websites to compare specs and prices. 

The customer might visit a store to see and touch the phone before making a final decision. 

After purchase, the customer journey continues with learning how to use the phone and possibly contacting customer support for help. 

Finally, if the customer is happy with their experience, they might leave a positive review or recommend the phone and your company to a friend. 

Understanding the customer journey is the first step for businesses looking to manage this journey effectively.

What is customer journey management?

While customer journey refers to the entire customer experience, customer journey management focuses on optimizing that experience. Companies usually achieve this by analyzing each journey stage and implementing strategies to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Customer journey management involves the customer's experience and the retailer analyzing the various touchpoints of this experience. The retailer must make adjustments to ensure a smooth customer journey. For example, they may offer personalized product recommendations or streamline checkout.

Overall, customer journey management is about creating an exceptional customer experience at every touchpoint and taking a comprehensive approach.

The value of a journey management approach

A journey management approach to the customer experience is a comprehensive strategy for understanding, mapping, and optimizing the various stages of the customer journey. 

Putting customers first allows businesses to create a satisfying customer experience, leading to higher engagement, loyalty, and revenue.

Benefits of a journey management approach

Improved customer satisfaction

Focusing on the customer journey and understanding pain points helps businesses create a more enjoyable and efficient customer experience. This can lead to higher levels of satisfaction and loyalty.

Better business outcomes

Improving the customer experience can increase customer retention, referrals, and revenue. This can drive growth and long-term success.

More efficient use of resources

Understanding the customer journey allows businesses to identify areas where they’re wasting or misallocating resources. Optimizing the customer experience makes businesses more efficient and effective.

More engaged employees

A customer-centric approach can also benefit employees, who may feel more motivated and engaged when they see the impact their work is having on the customer experience.

Increased stakeholder buy-in

Demonstrating a commitment to the customer experience allows businesses to build trust and buy-in from stakeholders like investors and board members.

Better sales outcomes

Understanding the customer journey helps businesses identify opportunities to improve sales and upsell/cross-sell products and services. This can lead to higher revenue and growth.

Overall, a journey management approach is a powerful way to create a more satisfying and effective customer experience. Understanding and optimizing the customer journey can drive long-term success and build a loyal customer base.

What are the stages of customer journey management?

Companies typically go through three main stages to effectively manage a customer's journey: 

  • Understanding

  • Designing

  • Orchestrating

Each stage plays a vital role in creating a positive, memorable customer experience.

Understanding

The first stage is all about gaining insight into your customers' needs and wants. 

You’ll need to conduct research to gather data for a better understanding of your target audience. This often comes from UX research teams. 

Analyzing customer behavior, pain points, and preferences can allow companies to develop a deep understanding of their customers. They can also tailor marketing efforts to suit customers.

Designing

The second stage involves creating a roadmap for the customer journey. 

For this stage, you need to develop a customer-centric strategy that maps out each touchpoint in the journey. Companies must identify all potential touchpoints and create a seamless experience across all of them. 

You’ll identify areas for improvement and develop innovative ways to enhance the overall experience.

Orchestrating

The final stage involves implementing the customer journey strategy. This requires coordination across various departments, from marketing to customer service, to ensure that every touchpoint aligns with the overall strategy. 

You’ll also continually monitor and analyze data to improve and refine the customer journey.

Companies can provide a seamless customer experience by understanding their needs, designing a customer-centric strategy, and perfecting every touchpoint.

How do companies get started with customer journey management?

Embarking on a customer journey management strategy means you need the right roles and resources. This could be part of a UX team’s deliverables or include establishing a dedicated journey manager role and journey management teams to oversee the process.

The journey management role

The journey manager defines and manages the overall customer journey strategy. They work closely with journey management teams to develop and implement the strategy across all touchpoints and channels. 

This person should have a strong understanding of the business and its customers and possess skills to lead cross-functional teams.

Journey management teams

Journey management teams involve representatives from each department in the customer journey, including marketing, sales, customer service, and operations. 

These teams work together to map out the journey and identify areas to improve.

The journey manager and journey management teams must have the support of upper management and the entire organization. 

A customer-centric approach should be a top priority for the entire company.

Where these resources fit in the organization

Companies need to clearly understand where journey management roles and resources fit within the organization to place them appropriately. 

First, the company must comprehensively assess the current customer journey, mapping out all touchpoints and identifying any gaps or areas of friction. 

From there, companies can determine where to establish journey management teams and what resources are necessary to support them, such as: 

  • Technology platforms for tracking customer interactions

  • Additional staff to support the journey management process

  • Ongoing training and development for all employees involved

Establishing clear journey-management roles and resources is essential for successfully implementing an effective customer journey strategy. 

Companies must be willing to invest the necessary time, resources, and personnel to get started. The payoff will be a more seamless, satisfying experience for their customers.

What are customer journey management best practices?

Several best practices can help you truly optimize your customer journey. 

Following these practices can uncover your customers' needs, desires, and behaviors while providing them with an experience that meets or exceeds their expectations. 

Let's explore some of the most important best practices:

1. Adopt a holistic point of view

For customer journey management, it's important to adopt a holistic point of view. 

This means considering every touchpoint a customer has with your brand, from pre-sale to post-sale interactions. You'll be able to better understand how customers move through your various channels and what experiences they have along the way.

2. Set clear objectives

Another best practice in customer journey management is to set clear objectives:

  • What are your goals when it comes to managing your customers' journey? 

  • Are you looking to improve customer satisfaction, increase sales, or reduce churn? 

Once you have a clear idea of your objectives, you can develop a strategy that aligns with your goals.

3. Know your customer

It's only possible to optimize the customer journey with a deep understanding of your customers. 

This means going beyond basic demographic data to discover their motivations, pain points, and preferences. 

Conducting customer research, creating buyer personas, and analyzing customer feedback are all great ways to get to know your customers better.

4. Involve your entire company

It's essential to involve your entire company in the process to truly optimize the customer journey. 

Customer journey management isn't just the job of marketing or customer service teams—it impacts every aspect of your organization. 

Involving everyone in the process creates a truly seamless experience for your customers.

What are some common mistakes with customer journey management?

Implementing a customer journey management strategy can bring many benefits to your business. However, mistakes can be costly and can affect your customers' experience. 

Let’s look at some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

Failing to map the customer journey

Not mapping the customer journey is one of the most common mistakes that businesses make. 

This can result in a lack of understanding of your customer's needs and wants. The consequence of this mistake is that you'll miss opportunities to improve your customer's experience. 

To avoid this mistake, map your customer journey, including all touchpoints and channels, and collect customer feedback.

Overcomplicating the process

Another mistake that businesses make is overcomplicating the process. 

Customer journey management doesn't have to be complicated. The more complicated the process, the more likely you are to make mistakes and lose sight of your objectives. 

To avoid this mistake, keep your process simple, and focus on your customer's needs.

Not involving stakeholders

Another mistake that businesses make is not involving stakeholders. 

Stakeholders can include your customers, employees, and partners. Exclusion can lead to a lack of support for your customer journey management strategy, resulting in poor execution and negative consequences. 

To avoid this mistake, involve your stakeholders from the beginning, and make sure they understand the importance of customer journey management. 

Another best practice might be to include customer journeys as part of personas to use during important business decisions.

Failing to measure the impact

Not measuring the impact of the customer journey management strategy is another mistake that businesses make. 

You need to measure the impact of your strategy to know if it's effective. The consequence of this mistake is that you'll miss opportunities to optimize your strategy and improve your customer experience. 

To avoid this mistake, measure your strategy's impact by collecting customer data and feedback.

Ignoring feedback

Ignoring feedback is a common mistake. 

Your customers' feedback is valuable; ignoring it can lead to negative consequences. If you don't address your customers' concerns, they're likely to move on to a competitor. 

To avoid this mistake, collect feedback regularly and act on it promptly. 

Lack of support

It’s important to properly support your team with the customer journey management processes. 

Initial research, analysis, ideation, and brainstorming are important, but companies easily overlook these stages. 

Once solutions and changes are ready for customer journeys, give your team the autonomy to proceed. Too often, egos and politics can limit the best of customer management intentions.

Avoiding these mistakes ensures the success of your customer journey management strategy. 

Mapping your customer journey, simplifying your process, involving stakeholders, and addressing feedback enhances the customer experience and increases loyalty.

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